Despite a shaky start on Wall Street, the major market indexes finished with both feet in the black today. Investors viewed mixed developments out of Europe with rose-colored glasses, betting that international finance ministers will come through with a plan to ease the region's financial woes. What's more, reports that the European Central Bank (ECB) could soon reverse its recent rate hikes helped take the sting out of an unimpressive housing report, which indicated that new home sales fell to a six-month low in August. Against this optimistic backdrop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and S&P 500 Index (SPX) finished at session highs, with the blue-chip barometer tacking on 272 points by the bell. Meanwhile, even the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMP) climbed out of the doldrums, despite predictions for ebbing sales of Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPad.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA – 11,043.86) added 272.3 points, or 2.5%, to end north of the 11,000 level for the first session in three. In fact, all 30 of the Dow's blue chips finished higher, led by JPMorgan Chase's (JPM) gain of nearly 7%.
Similarly, the S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,162.95) settled with a gain of 26.5 points, or 2.3%. Finally, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 2,516.69) spent the most time in the red, but tacked on 33.5 points, or 1.4%, to finish back atop the 2,500 level.
Turning to equities in focus, Netflix (NFLX) struck a content deal with DreamWorks Animation (DWA) ... McGraw-Hill (MHP) confessed that it received a Wells Notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ... Put buying has picked up steam on Hartford Financial Services (HIG) ... Marvell Technology (MRVL) failed to benefit from a price-target boost ... An options trader bet on continued stagnation for Dendreon (DNDN) ... and today's Quote of the Day comes from Wall Street Journal blogger Mark Gongloff. The shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) took a tumble out of the gate this morning, thanks to an analyst note suggesting iPad sales were on the verge of a slowdown. However, that's simply preposterous, as Gongloff notes:
"Ha, what crazy talk, there's nothing to suggest we are not rushing headlong toward an inevitable future of spending all our time updating our Facebook profiles on our iPads while getting all our nutrients through an IV drip."
But these weren't the only headlines hitting the Street today. Click on the links below for our blog coverage of:
And, in case you missed it, Jim Cunningham walked options rookies through the ins and outs of LEAPS. Check out the latest installment of Inside Options for more.
For today's activity in crude oil, gold futures, options, and more, turn to page 2.
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